Claudia Marzi Chiara Melloni Maria Vender

Finger-tracking reading profiles in monolingual and bilingual early graders

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In this paper we propose an analysis of the reading behaviour of a group of Italian monolingual (n= 24) and bilingual (n= 35) 2nd schoolgraders, engaged in the tasks of reading aloud lists of isolated words and nonwords (from the DDE-2 test battery), as well as narrative connected texts displayed on the touch-screen of a common tablet, to be read either aloud or silently. A finger-tracking technique is illustrated, which provides detailed information about the reading behaviour and attention focus of early graders. Our results reveal various differences between groups. In particular, a different tracking pattern emerged in reading long, morphologicallycomplex word forms, correlating with a higher decoding error rate and comprehension difficulties in bilingual children compared with their monolingual peers. We suggest that the unsteady, discontinuous reading pattern for long noun and verb forms may be due to a (proto)-morphological reading strategy, with monolingual children being more successful in benefiting from a morpheme-based reading route. We also discuss the potentials of the finger-tracking technique as a tool to offer a more profound and comprehensive analysis of the reading profiles of both monolingual and bilingual readers.


  • developing readers
  • bilingualism
  • L2 literacy
  • connected text reading
  • morphological processing
  • finger-tracking


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